Tuesday, August 27, 2013

When Things Go Wrong...

What happens when an afternoon in the most magical place on earth goes south?

That was the dilemma I faced a few weeks ago, when a little thunder and lightning threatened to ruin my last hurrah at Walt Disney World for the summer... but let me start at the beginning!

It was the perfect plan: I would spend the morning at Epcot, discovering the joys of unexplored pavilions and untasted treats (specifically, a special treat in Norway... you know the one), then hop on the monorail to bid farewell to my precious Magic Kingdom. Bittersweet as it was, I knew I needed one last chance to socialize with the Haunted Mansions happy haunts, dive into Brer Rabbit's briar patch,  and take a voyage on the happiest cruise that ever sailed; before I traveled far away from my beloved land of princesses and pixie dust, I'd give it a proper goodbye.

Hence, when I stepped off the Magic Kingdom Express monorail at 2:40 that fateful afternoon, I had no reason to suspect that my plan wouldn't go off without a hitch. In retrospect, the menacing clouds that rolled in as I entered the Enchanted Tiki Room should have tipped me off to the imminent monsoon, but, hey, how was I to know that this typical Florida thunderstorm wasn't going to be quite so... typical?

I exited the calm of the Tiki Room to a nearly empty Adventureland Bazaar... a phenomenon quickly explained by thunder that boomed overhead. Knowing that I had an ever-narrowing window of time before the skies opened and I'd need a small boat to navigate the pathways, I made a beeline for one of my favorite spots in the park...

... unfortunately, a hundred of my closest friends had the same idea! Big Top Souvenirs (located in the Storybook Circus section of New Fantasyland) is two of the best things a place can be during a downpour: big and (most importantly) indoors.

Now, let me say this: I'm not proud of what happened next. After about an hour of perusing plush displays and navigating through the sea of soaked tourists, I got a little... grumpy. Okay, I got a lot grumpy. Seriously, I would have put the dwarf himself to shame! Even after the rain subsided and I was freed from my densely-packed, circus-themed cage, I was finished. If an attraction wasn't shut down for the storm, it had been slapped with an obscene wait time; rumbles in the distance hinted that another squall was on its way, and... wait, was that a camera flash or lightning?!

And that's about when I realized that I was acting like an insufferable brat. There I was, in the happiest, most magical place in the world, and all I could think about was how my day had been ruined. At that moment, I decided that rather than moping over my fouled farewell, I'd just have to... readjust it a little bit! As I wandered around the Kingdom, snapping photos and saying goodbye to my most cherished spots, I realized that rides and shows weren't what made this place special to me.

Fun fact: This is my absolute favorite spot in the whole Magic Kingdom.

 It was the little details tucked away in the details of Liberty Square, the feeling I got staring up at Cinderella Castle, the tantalizing aroma of the Confectionery on Main Street. All this time, I had become so wrapped up in the glitz and grandeur of E-Ticket attractions (which- don't get me wrong- have their place) that I neglected the simple touches that make Disney... Disney.

There's just nothing like it.

Even though I left the park a tad earlier than I anticipated (and soaking wet), I didn't feel like my farewell had failed. As a matter of fact, it was ten times more special and more memorable than I could have ever dreamed.

How do you deal with intense storms at the parks? Hopefully, you skip the pouting phase... like I said, I'm not proud of it! Let me know in the comments below!

- Becca :)

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